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Crystal Burey ’10 writes about her work on North East South, a new photo series by Karina Skvirsky, assistant professor of art

Art major Crystal Burey ’10 (Saint Albans, N.Y.) has been learning the business aspect of the art field as an EXCEL Scholar with Karina Skvirsky, assistant professor of art.

What is a photograph? How do you use a photograph to move beyond replicating reality and move into the realm of creating art? What is a good photograph and a bad photograph? These are questions that were answered by Professor Karina Skvirsky in my digital photography course. As I sat through each class and executed each project, I came to understand the art of photography. After falling in love with the art and receiving a Paving the Path diversity award presented by Karina, I was sure that my passion for photography wasn’t just a phase.

The opportunity to be an EXCEL Scholar is a fortune that few students are afforded. And though my aspirations to excel in the art department were very much in existence, working with Professor Skvirsky is an honor that more or less fell into my lap.

Karina’s latest project is a series entitled North East South. The work focuses on locations of lynching, as well as the political and cultural implications of the Mason-Dixon Line – a topic that is relevant to everyone who calls themselves an American. My involvement in the project consists of mailing out materials on the series to various galleries across the nation. The goal is not only to get the work seen and sold but to share the powerful message behind Karina’s work. With each response that trickles into the office, I experience the fruit of labeling and mailing; and it’s a pretty good taste.

The beauty of working with Karina is that each day we meet is a learning opportunity. In the short time between now and the day I started, I’ve already completed scanning tasks, compiled a mailing list of galleries, and have done printing for sample work binders. On the agenda are several printing projects both large and small and a detailed lesson of photo retouching. Karina has also invited me to accompany her to an art event in Allentown early next month. It goes without saying that this experience is one uncontainable to the walls of a classroom. The knowledge I obtained in digital photography is built upon each day I assist Professor Skvirsky in a way that is alive and full of breadth.

As a studio art major and economics and business minor, my work with Karina could not be more appropriate and pertinent to my future plans in life. Being an artist is more complex and meaningful than a small studio covered in paint drippings and printing paper. It is a daily effort that requires business savvy and strong determination. Being an EXCEL Scholar means so much more to me than a few hours of work and Photoshop lessons. This experience motivates me daily to pursue my passion for art, fashion, and business instead of yielding to the demands of society; and for that I am indisputably grateful.

  • Art
  • Undergraduate Research
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